NJ Transit earmarks $48 million for upgrades to Bloomfield Station in its 2023 operating budget, secures authorization for capital funding

NEWARK, NJ — On July 20, the NJ Transit board of directors adopted the fiscal year 2023 operating budget and updated capital plan that supports continued investments in personnel, infrastructure and equipment to maintain the system in a state of good repair and to enhance the overall customer experience, according to a press release.

“Gov. Murphy’s steadfast commitment to improving NJ Transit is demonstrated through the resources provided in the FY 2023 budget. This operating budget will support continued system improvements while keeping fares stable,” New Jersey Department of Transportation Commissioner and NJ Transit board Chairperson Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti said.

“The FY23 budget and update to our five-year capital plan are critical to not only maintaining the services we currently provide, but also making sure we are prepared for future demands,” board Vice Chairperson Cedrick Fulton said. 

“The operating and capital funding allows us to continue to build on the progress we’ve made through new vehicle purchases, new and upgraded infrastructure, and hiring the personnel necessary to further improve the customer experience,” NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett said. “This budget is a roadmap for how we will maximize our resources and spend every dollar wisely to deliver the world-class transit service New Jersey residents expect and deserve.’’

The board adopted a $2.75 billion operating budget and $2.64 billion in capital investments for FY 2023. This budget does not include a fare increase for FY 2023.

According to NJ Transit, 26 percent of the revenue in the FY 2023 operating budget comes from passenger fares. The remaining amount comes from dedicated funding from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which is $721 million in FY23, in addition to federal COVID-19 relief money, and a combination of commercial revenue and state and federal resources.

Approximately 61 percent of the operating budget is dedicated to costs associated with labor and fringe benefits. Other significant expenses include purchased transportation, which represents 10 percent of total operating expenses. Expenses including materials, fuel and power, utilities, and outside services represent the remaining 29 percent of the total operating expenses. The budget also allows for the expansion of personnel in key areas within bus, rail, light rail, police operations and strategic administrative support services.

The FY23 budget includes $10.1 million for additional operational staffing in the rail infrastructure engineering, mechanical and transportation departments. In addition, $1 million is included for additional police positions to increase police visibility on all modes. The budget also includes funding for increased light rail vehicle maintenance and additional office of system safety positions, including safety training, COVID-19 response, community outreach and accident/incident investigations.

The FY23 budget will fully fund 129 bus positions for service enhancements. It will support the redesign of the Newark Bus System and Newark Micro-Transit initiative and the assumption of contracted bus routes. The budget will include enhanced recruitment for the human relations department, employee engagement and candidate experience, along with additional procurement positions.

The FY23 update to the five-year capital plan continues to prioritize investments in infrastructure to maintain an overall state of good repair; enhance reliability, safety and resilience; and improve the overall customer experience on the system. The five-year capital plan is an unconstrained vision of projects to demonstrate opportunities for safety, service, reliability, resilience, sustainability and other improvements critical to NJ Transit.

The plan contains two sets of projects: The first set includes projects already funded by existing or expected resources, and the second set identifies proposed projects for which funding has yet to be identified but is vital to NJ Transit’s service delivery.

The capital budget includes approximately $814 million from the Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund to be invested in upgrades to major terminals and public facilities, as well as rail station modernization, including $191 million for Newark Penn Station​, $176 million for Hoboken Terminal​, $250 million for Walter Rand Transportation Center, $48 million for Bloomfield Station​, $33 million for Brick Church Station​, $49 million for New Brunswick Station​ and $27 million for Roselle Park Station. The budget also directs $40 million for the Northern Maintenance of Way Facility in Clifton.

The capital plan continues to invest in infrastructure, which includes a funding increase of $191 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act for projects including the agencywide state-of-good-repair program​, the midlife overhaul of the River LINE fleet​, as well as rail infrastructure and facilities projects. It also includes design projects for critical future investments including the design for Northern Bus Garage and NJ Transit’s Bus Garage Modernization Program, as well as key early construction activities for HBLR Route 440 expansion.

The FY23 capital investments also include a $40 million funding increase for customer-facing technologies, including bus farebox replacement and modernization​ and light rail and rail fare gate replacement and modernization.

NJ Transit’s capital funding allocation is $2.64 billion, which is an increase of $1.045 billion above last year’s approved amount of $1.59 billion​.

The additional $1.045 billion is derived from a number of new sources: ​$814 million from the New Jersey Debt Defeasance and Prevention Fund, ​$191 million from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds,​ and $40 million from the State Fiscal Recovery Fund. Outside of this additional funding, the base plan for capital investments is supported by $760 million from the state Transportation Trust Fund, $600 million from the Federal Transit Administration, $100 million from the FTA CIG program and $75 million from the Federal Highway Administration.